Monday, July 26, 2010

Keeping Autumn Busy

Autumn starts preschool in a week and I am so excited. I think she would be more excited if she understood more what I meant by saying she was going to be going to school. To her, she thinks she will be going to nursery (a 2 hour play & snack class for toddlers at church) an extra 3 times a week. What I am most excited about is she is going to the preschool at the elementary school, so she will be on the schools schedule for breaks, and be in a school environment. I even get to go to Meet The Teacher night on Thurs. I think it will really help with the transition to school when she starts Kindergarten. We have to walk through the main area of the school to get to her classroom, so she will get to see a lot of the school everyday. Even though this elementary school isn't where she will attend Kindergarten she will still be used to the environment and busyness of a school setting. In preparing Autumn for preschool I started doing a craft time with her this summer. It's been something we have both enjoyed. It's helped me see how truely smart she is, and when I give her something to do assuming it will be at a level above her capabilities she surprises me and has no problem with the task. It has helped me see the things she knew (which I didn't know she knew) and helped her review things she has always known. But the main reason I did it was to set aside a small time each day to have her sit and listen to instruction. Because preschool will be very structured, which she needs, and I know they will do crafts and activities and I wanted her familiar with scissors, glue, paint, and markers and following basic instructions. A few times I have let Weston participate but it's usually just me and Autumn sitting at the table, which Autumn loves the one on one attention and it's usually when she is on her best behavior because of it. So get ready for a lot of pictures!
Here Autumn is working on gluing square black and yellow pieces of construction paper to make stripes on a bee. We talked about bee's, the sound they make, and the colors black and yellow.
This craft is one I thought would be over her head. I printed 3 flowers in different sizes in 2 colors. She had to first match the color flower then match it to the right size. This activity included us discussing big, medium, and small, and the colors blue and orange. After correcting her once she totally understood what I was talking about and matched the remaining flowers perfectly.
This was a fun activity, I know she can count to 20, and I knew she recognized numbers up to fifteen, but just to watch her count and find the corresponding number that went with it was cool. Unfortunately the way I set up the paper we only went up to 9, but this week I plan to do 10 through 20.
This is a collage Autumn made, we had left over construction pieces and I let her cut them into different shapes and sizes. This was a day I clearly hadn't thought out a craft and she was begging to do a craft. We have done collages twice. This picture is of the one she made for my mom.
I printed out a paper doll online, I let her color it, I cut it out, and then I gave her free reign as to how the body was supposed to look, and let her put it together like a puzzle. It's not perfect, but to a 3 year old I am sure it was exactly right. And trust me, the hardest part for me in this process is letting her not be perfect, not correcting her to put something in the right place, letting her figure it out...I like to take control and if I could've I would have put the arms in the right spot to show her where they really go, but I like the way she did it.
The week of the 4th of July we did a flag, instead of cutting out 50 stars I cut out small squares, but while she put the flag together I had a flag on the laptop for her to look at. We discussed red, white, and blue, flags, and following a pattern. (the stripes) She did a great job.
This activity was a flower. I precut flower petals and had them randomly sitting all over the table. I had her find the number one and glue it on, then she had to tell me what number came next, find it, and glue it on. This was a fun and easy one.
This was one of the first activities we did. Autumn got to cut out circles, and glue them on a ladybug. This was a very easy craft, but one she loved- she always talks about her ladybug.
This is a lion, we talked about lions, the sound they make. I had all the pieces cut out for her and drew on a piece of paper what the lions face looked like, and she put the pieces on perfectly. We also talked about yellow and orange.
I precut circles, squares, and triangles in 3 different colors and had her match the correct shape. We discussed the 3 shapes and orange, yellow, and pink. I knew she knew the shape of a circle, I was surprised she knew square before I even told her. Since this activity she has learned triangle.
Yes, I realize this is a yellow snoman. I have tons and tons of construction paper, and I am out of white, so we used yellow. We talked about snowmen (Frosty), circles, and the color yellow. With this I had also drawn what a snowman looks like and she took all the pieces, big and small and glued them on correctly.
I think this was her favorite, it was different from cutting, gluing and matching. And super easy. We did a bunch of these because they turned out so different. We made tie dyed wipes. Basically wrap up a wipe, put rubberbands on it, and color with a marker. Let dry and admire!
Autumn is painting a styrofoam bowl green for a turtle shell. Then I cut out black pieces of construction paper for the head, arms, legs, and tail and had her glue them on where she thought they went. We talked about turtles, green, and black.
Even Weston has surprised me. This is his ladybug and bee. Although Weston probaby did the 2 most simplest crafts. I am still proud.
So what do you do with all these crafts?
Hang them up. We do the crafts after Autumns nap so when Drew gets home the activity is still fresh in her mind and she loves pointing out to him what she did that day. Whenever grandma or her aunt comes over she says, "Come on. Look. Crafts." Its fun to see her so proud of her work and she will point out each one and tell them about it. Which is great for reviewing her numbers, shapes, colors, and animals. I also have tons and tons of coloring pages covering my fridge from days when I didn't get a craft prepared in time. I can't wait for Autumn to start preschool and see all the new things she learns. She really loves to learn and it seems to come so easily to her.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Messy Dinner Makes For Great Pictures

I am not one for messes, but being pregnant has lead me to having many days where I don't feel like eating, and so sometimes a messy dinner, is the easiest and quickest dinner to throw together for everyone else. Like spaghetti. So I have learned to avoid stained clothes, they eat w/no shirts on, and to plan these messy dinners on bath nights to ensure that I get them completely clean. Because somehow Weston just knows how to get it everywhere. My kids love pasta, and for whatever reason, once they're done their messy faces make for the cutest pictures. 
Since I knew we would be going outside to play right after eating, I figured since they would play in the water, it would make for less cleaning on my part. Wrong.
Plus-they were already messy, and dirty I figured Hawaiian Punch freezer pops would be sticky perfection!

Autumn enjoying hers:
Weston has more sensitive teeth, and eats his more carefully.
By round two (which they both asked for more) Weston was done, his mouth was too cold.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Our Backyard Friend

Every night after dinner we strip the kids down and let them go play in the backyard in the sprinklers. It's an easy and great way to get energy out before bed while the yard is mostly shaded and the temps are somewhat bearable. Drew is in the process of landscaping our backyard, and 2 weeks ago he rototilled the yard, put in a sprinkler system, and laid grass.  His next project for it is laying pavers to extend our patio and putting in rock, trees and in the fall planting a garden. The kids have loved having grass as much as we have. It's been so fun to go out everynight and let the kids play in the water. Mainly it's Autumn playing in the water, and once the cycle runs Weston enjoys running in the wet grass and kicking balls.

Well one night Drew was putting together his lawn mower and found a baby lizard. Autumn & Weston were completely fascinated by it. Autumn loved holding it, and Weston- well his big man hands wanted to just squish it, so he never held it for long. Autumn still talks about the lizard and looks for it every night we go out there. Drew has seen him, but those things are fast, so he hasn't been successful in catching him again.

Autumn did really well with it:
Here it is in Autumns hand:
Weston wanted a turn, but Drew had to quickly rescue the lizard from Westons hands wanting to squeeze it:
Just so you get an idea of how tiny he is, this is it on Drews index finger:
We are keeping an eye out for our backyard friend. Autumn just can't stop talking about the lizard, and even found a box and has set it aside for when we catch him again.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Your Experience Needed!

I am on day 2 of potty training and need some advice and 'know hows' from moms who have done this and been successful. Day 1 was a complete success and I couldn't believe how well it went. I took Autumn and sat her on the toilet every 20 min and she peed (just a tiny bit- but still) almost every time she sat on the toilet. We had 2 accidents in the early morning, back to back, but once she went in the potty and saw all the praise she got from then on we only had one accident, and it was while I was making dinner and I lost track of time. So the stats for yesterday were 3 accidents and 10 successful potty experiences. Well so what I need help with is how long do I keep taking her to the potty every 20 min? Today I am stretching it to every 30 min because when I see her hands start wandering or she tugs on her underwear I know it's time to run to the bathroom, so if I don't see any cues I just go 30 min. Because even then what does go in the potty is very minimal but it's better in there than on my floors. How long do I keep up the pattern of taking her so often, and when do I start waiting for her to tell me she needs to go? This is my 4th time attempting potty training with her, and it has been such a breeze...for now. She starts preschool in Aug. and has to be potty trained by then. So I figured I have to do it now- I am out of time. So! Let me know your routines and what worked for you. We do have a reward system, yesterday she got a lollipop after her first potty in the toilet, and she was so happy she never licked it, just held on to it, and so from then on I rewarded her with 2 m&m's and we are doing the same today- I will save lollipops for when she goes #2. Any tips and ideas on what to do from here are welcome!!